How many times have The Cure played Glastonbury?

18 March 2019, 12:09 | Updated: 18 March 2019, 12:11

Robert Smith of The Cure at Glastonbury 1995
Robert Smith of The Cure at Glastonbury 1995. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

As The Cure are announced as the Sunday night headliner for Glastonbury 2019, we look back at the setlists from their other appearances at Worthy Farm.

What can we expect from The Cure’s headline slot at Glastonbury 2019?

The Cure celebrated 40 years as a band last year and their Hyde Park from July 2018 demonstrated the breath of Robert Smith’s extensive back catalogue. Dotted throughout the set was a collection of major pop hits: everything from In Between Days, Friday I’m In Love and The Walk to the quirky Caterpillar, Close To Me and the emotional Pictures Of You.

The Cure at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park - 7th July
The Cure at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park - 7th July. Picture: Brian Rasic/WireImage/Getty Images

The band’s albums were mined too, with some choice “deep cuts” including tracks from 1989’s Disintegration album (the title track, Plainsong), the 1980 new wave classic Play For Today and even The Cure’s contribution to the soundtrack of The Crow, Burn.

The Hyde Park set ended with a barrage of tracks from The Cure’s earliest years: Boys Don’t Cry, Jumping Someone Else’s Train, Grinding Halt, 10.15 Saturday Night and their first single, Killing An Arab.

The Cure first headlined Glastonbury in 1986

Following the success of their 1985 album The Head On The Door and its singles Close To Me and In Between Days, the following year saw The Cure’s first headline appearance at what was then known as the Glastonbury CND Festival. The other headliners were The Psychedelic Furs and Level 42, while also on the eclectic bill were Madness, Simply Red, The Housemartins and The Pogues.

The Cure’s Glastonbury set in 1986 was heavy with their recent “pop” hits such as Boys Don’t Cry and The Walk, but they still managed to keep the mood veering between light and dark, delivering three encores and ending the show with the emotional Faith and the downright angst-ridden title track from their album Pornography. No Love Cats.

The Cure - 1986 Glastonbury setlist

Shake Dog Shake / Play For Today / Kyoto Song / Primary / Charlotte Sometimes / A Strange Day / In Between Days / The Walk / A Night Like This / One Hundred Years / Push / A Forest / Sinking

Encore 1: Close To Me / Let’s Go To Bed

Encore 2: Give Me It / Boys Don’t Cry

Encore 3: Faith / Pornography

The second time The Cure headlined Glastonbury was in 1990

The band’s relationship with the festival was strained after their 1990 appearance. The headline slot came off the back of the massive success of their Disintegration album the previous year. Only two encores this time, ending with a sneak preview of the forthcoming single Never Enough. No Love Cats.

However, the set was halted by one festival-goer being air-lifted hospital. Speaking about their 1990 set in an edition of The Cure newsletter from December of the same year, the Lullaby singer said: "Glastonbury was ok, but its organisation does leave an awful lot to be desired.

"There should have been crush barriers in the main field - the one particular incident down the front with the girl being given the kiss of life shocked us a bit too much to really get into the set."

The Telegraph's review of the festival mirrored Robert Smith's sentiment at the time, describing the scenes as like a "war zone," writing: "Interruption by helicopter or ambulance was the least of the problems facing the performers on the celebrated Pyramid stage: these were hardly the ideal conditions to demonstrate artistic excellence."

The 1990 line-up also included Happy Mondays, James, Sinead O’Connor and De La Soul.

The Cure - 1990 Glastonbury setlist

Shake Dog Shake / A Strange Day / A Night Like This / Catch / Pictures Of You / Fascination Street / Lullaby / Dressing Up / The Same Deep Water As You / Lament / Just Like Heaven / The Walk / Primary / In Between Days / A Forest / Disintegration

Encore 1: Close To Me / Let’s Go To Bed / Why Can’t I Be You

Encore 2: 10.15 Saturday Night / Killing An Arab / Never Enough

The Cure’s third headline Glastonbury appearance was in 1995

Following the international success of their album Wish in 1992 (their first UK Number 1 LP), the rest of the 90s were a bit of a grey period for The Cure. Drummer Boris Williams and guitarist Porl Thompson had both left, while bassist Simon Gallup went on sabbatical, so sessions for the next album were protracted. Glastonbury 1995 was an opportunity for Robert Smith to unveil the new line-up (featuring Jason Cooper on drums) and even premiere some new material - despite the new album, Wild Mood Swings, being nearly a year away from release. The show was an early example of Glastonbury being televised.

Amongst the new material (Want, Mint Car, Jupiter Crash) the set was a mix of recent hits (Friday I’m In Love, High) and some dark classics (Disintegration, A Strange Day). Still no Love Cats.

The Cure played Sunday night, while Oasis headlined the festival for the first time on Friday, while Saturday was the infamous occasion that The Stone Roses were due to perform. They were replaced by Pulp after Roses guitarist John Squire broke his collarbone.

The Cure - 1995 Glastonbury setlist

Want / Fascination Street / A Night Like This / Pictures Of you / Lullaby / Just Like Heaven / Trust / Jupiter Crash / High / The Walk / Let’s Go To Bed / Dressing Up / A Strange Day / Push / Mint Car / Friday I’m In Love / In Between Days / From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea / Shiver And Shake / Disintegration / End

Thanks to the excellent www.cure-concerts.de for setlist information.